Monday 16 May 2016

Wolves are not 'egalitarians' when it comes to play fighting

Researchers had thought adult wolves would let puppies win sometimes to encourage them to play – they don't

Ian Johnston Science Correspondent 
Wednesday 11 May 2016

Wolves do not appear to adopt an “egalitarian” approach when playing with young pups, refusing to let them win, according to a new study.

Researchers speculated that dominant wolves would allow younger, weaker members of their group to ‘win’ about half the time.

However, they found the reverse was true – puppies would deliberately let the adult win.

Jennifer Essler, of the Wolf Science Centre in Austria, who led the research, said: “The study presents the first evidence that wolf puppies do not show egalitarian play styles, and adult wolves do not appear to exhibit self-handicapping behaviours to engage the puppies in play.
“Thus, it does not appear that the retained levels of… co-operation within wolves, compared to dogs, has selected for more egalitarian play styles.”

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